What did you do before joining Costello Medical?
I studied Political Science and Economics and, after a Masters in International Relations, I worked for two years with international organisations taking on roles that mainly focussed on statistics, drug policy and project management. During this time, I lived in six countries, gaining exposure to different cultures and learning new languages. I then decided to specialise in health economics and graduated with distinction in my second Masters from the London School of Economics. I then joined Costello Medical as Health Economist in September 2019. One year later, I progressed to the Senior Health Economist role.
What do you like best about your role as Health Economist at Costello Medical?
The best thing about the Health Economist role is that the day-to-day job is always exciting and never the same – it provides endless opportunities to learn something new and acquire new skills. We work across many different disease areas and model types, and each modelling project presents a new set of challenges and learning opportunities. I also particularly enjoy the mix of skills that we get to use. Technical knowledge is required to build and review economic models, but communication skills are also essential to engage effectively with clients and internal colleagues, while good time management ensures the project progresses smoothly.
As Health Economists, we also get to think outside the box and develop creative solutions when there is a problem to solve within the model. This is especially important during the model conceptualisation stage when different strategies, model types and structures are being evaluated. It is also great to apply my technical skills to the healthcare sector and to feel that my work has a positive impact on society.
How would you describe a typical day in the life of a Health Economist at Costello Medical?
I start my day by looking at the meetings in my calendar and organising my to-do list. Early in the week, I often join project catch-ups where tasks are divided among team members, and we share our updates on previous project tasks. This communication is really key to keep a project moving smoothly and to allow the whole team to know what they are working on. Within my role, there is a mix of both collaborative and independent working and these catch-ups provide a useful bridge between the two.
I usually try to reserve good chunks of time for the modelling work or for reviewing and implementing feedback from our clients. It is really satisfying to be able to focus on building the model without having interruptions from emails or meetings. I try to plan my time in advance, as much as possible, to allow for this focussed time.
Today, I am working on a cost-effectiveness model for a screening programme for an infectious disease. This model aims to support the value story of a client’s existing therapy. I previously built this model from a UK perspective, but we have now been asked by the client to include other European countries. Our models are usually built in Excel and we mostly code in VBA. However, we are increasingly using R in our work too. These technical decisions are typically made during the conceptualisation of a model. Once this model is complete it will feed into a manuscript, which our Publications teams will develop. Therefore, I am meeting with some Medical Writers next week to discuss what we learnt from the first stage. I really enjoy the chance to collaborate with those in other divisions!
In the afternoon I work on a presentation for a client to provide them with an update on a project. The content of this presentation will depend on the project stage. For example, today we are discussing a project we have recently started. Therefore, we are presenting the interesting findings from our targeted searches on previously published economic models in the same disease area. During the call, we present these findings, as well as alternative model structures for a cost-effectiveness model we are going to build for the client.
This afternoon, as I am working from home, I have a virtual tea break with the rest of the Health Economics team. This is a nice habit we first developed during the pandemic. As our team grows in new locations, this helps us to feel connected and always provides some much needed “down” time.
After the tea break, I spend some time working on a different project which involves running sensitivity and scenario analyses in a model we recently completed. I include the results of these within the technical report which explores the model, how it works and its findings.
Before I log off for the day, I make sure that any urgent tasks or emails have been responded to, which may include requests from our clients, and make sure that my Project Managers know my progress to date on our projects!